Protein Takes Time, Energy, Effort to Digest
Protein Takes Time, Energy, Effort to Digest. You may wonder why it takes longer to digest protein than fats or carbohydrates. Dr Pierre Dukan, author of the book, The Dukan Diet explains,
“Of all the food categories, the digestion of proteins is the most time consuming. It takes over three hours to break down and assimilate proteins. The reason for this is simple: protein molecules are long chains with well-soldered links, and to break down their resistance requires the combination of good chewing and the simultaneous attack of various gastric, pancreatic, and biliary juices.
This long process of calorie extraction taxes the system; it has been calculated that to obtain 100 calories from a protein food, the system must use 30 calories. We can say that the specific dynamic action of proteins is 30 percent, while it is only 12 percent for fats and just 7 percent for carbohydrates.” (1)
The type of protein (amino acid linkages) also has an impact on a food’s digestibility. In general, the scientific research indicates that plant food proteins are more digestible than animal proteins. More stomach acid secretion and more bile synthesis and secretion, and more pancreatic enzyme secretion is required to digest meats, and all of these “mores” mean digestive energy, digestive process, and digestive complexity. In addition, research has shown that plant protein is not, as some have thought, less usable by the body than animal protein. In fact, meat-eating subjects are much more likely to be in a state of nitrogen excess, i.e., trying to excrete the nitrogen residue of unused protein, than are vegans. (2)
In addition to the added energy requirements, digestive complexity and nitrogen excess, animal products are nearly unanimously acidic. This too puts additional stress on the pancreas to secrete sufficient enzymes to buffer the acids.
Most animal products do, however, deliver the most complete protein sources available. They typically contain all the essential amino acids, whereas plant foods require greater variety to attain all the essential amino acids.
We think it is wise to limit protein intake from animal products to spare your pancreas and digestive system the added stress and energy expenditure. Nevertheless, we think some animal protein added to the diet can be beneficial for long term health and success. Our typical week would include not more than 2 servings of either wild caught Alaskan salmon of venison.
Health-e-Solutions comment: Our downloadable, printable special report on “Why we Limit Animal Products” details the problems associated with animal product consumption, and the impact on blood sugar control in individuals with diabetes and limited remaining beta cell function. There is a long list of health concerns tied to hormone-filled, antibiotic-laden animal products from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Even the best quality animal products, however, can tax a compromised pancreas, stress remaining beta cells, alter gut flora balance, elevate cortisol levels, increase #InsulinDemand and blood sugar levels, increase net acid load, create advanced glycation end-products and increase exposure to persistent organic pollutants. These issues can be problematic for people with diabetes looking to preserve remaining beta cells by keeping InsulinDemand and glucose levels low. Put your body in a position of strength to #MasterDiabetes in the healthiest way possible by promoting, supporting and creating health. Get tools and solutions to help minimize consequences and maximize benefits for nutrition, environment, exercise, sleep and stress management.